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Leonard BernsteinThe Political Life of an American Musician$
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Barry Seldes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257641

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

American Biedermeier

American Biedermeier


(p.52) Chapter Three American Biedermeier
Leonard Bernstein

Barry Seldes

University of California Press

This chapter examines the dark period in Bernstein's career. It first tries to determine the real reason/s behind Bernstein's decision to take a hiatus from conducting (one of which may be his blacklisting by the CBS and the State Department). It looks at the marginalization and isolation of the American Progressives from the mainstream of American liberalism. The next section examines the repression of several works during the 1950s, before it shifts to an account of Bernstein's experience of confessing to political sin and signing an affidavit that stated that he was not a communist and had never followed the communist line. From there, it follows Bernstein's rise back to the New York Philharmonic and identifies the ways used to recreate him as a mythic culture hero.

Keywords:   blacklisting, marginalization, isolation, American Progressives, American liberalism, repression, communist, New York Philharmonic

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